What works for me *PIC*

John K Jordan
I'm sure there are many, many successful ways to teach but this works for me. Note that this is with personal one-on-one attention or with two students at once maximum.

I start all students out the same way - with a skew chisel. I think this is the best way to teach the basics of the edge and bevel. We start by making shavings on a blank I already turned into a cylinder. (This eliminates the potential intimidating noisy violence of rounding a square blank.)

The first 5 minutes or so are using the skew with the lathe OFF, with me turning the lathe by hand. Then we do planing cuts at 50 rpm for a minute or two, then gradually increase the speed. In 20 minutes they are making nearly perfect planing cuts at high speed. I've never had one person get a catch.

Then the spindle roughing gouge to learn to make shallow curves.
Then rounding a spindle blank with the roughing gouge.
Back to the skew to learn v-grooves.
Then the spindle gouge for curves and coves.
Finally beads with a spindle gouge.
Then we make a project.

These two girls did all of this in their first lesson, having never touched a lathe before. One made a garden dibble and the other a whacking stick:

The second lesson, later the same day, was on face turning. We started on bowls and they each finished one. All this is in one day.

This is my shop:

Oh, just for fun, these are the next projects these two completed, each was the third lathe experience. (Neither has access to a lathe outside of my shop.) Their first two lessons were over two years earlier since they are both busy students in vet school.

(This project did take several sessions at the lathe, spread out over a week or so.)


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